Botanical Medicine

 Why see a practitioner of botanical medicine?

Modern bio medicine is awe-inspiring. Watching teams of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health practitioners, alongside the advanced technology that together save lives is a true triumph of scientific evolution. But Western bio-medicine isn’t perfect. Often, systemic monetary constraints get in the way of seeing a patient’s picture as truly holistic, and there just isn’t enough time to give patients the personal attention they need. Often people end up on a handful (or more) of pharmaceuticals that aren’t addressing the root cause of their illness. It can be hard to feel truly heard, as the short appointment times just don’t offer us the depth we need to explore our complex bodies.

If there is one thing that all practitioners of botanical medicine could agree on, it is that we take the time to listen. Because we have longer sessions (1.5 hours on average) we can get an idea of your full picture, and we can connect dots of emotions and wider environmental factors that might have been hard to spot without taking the time.

Botanical medicine is wonderful for:

  • Getting to the root cause of long-standing health issues
  • Maintaining a level of health (preventative healthcare)
  • Looking at the link between your emotions and your symptoms
Botanical medicine is holistic in the sense of connecting mind and body, but also in connecting the patient and their environment. In our modern world it has become difficult to spend time in nature and eat from the wild, but by ingesting the phytochemicals in our medicine we reclaim some of this connection. We look for ways to connect you back to the natural rhythms of sleep, food, and social connection, should these have been disrupted.
People often ask me what kind of conditions you can come to a herbalist for, and the answer is anything. Chronic or acute, emotional, spiritual or physical. If I sense that the case is beyond my scope I am trained to make referrals where necessary. Often, a useful role that a herbalist plays is preparing you for your visit to your GP, ensuring that you have the right questions ready to ask. After your GP visit we can help explain anything that was unclear, and help explain the implications of any test results (including blood work). Not only does this help you in understanding your condition, it also takes some pressure off the health system.
For me, there is no right or wrong medicine. Each type of medicine flourishes in different aspects, and when we are able to harness both, fully educated about our options, then we are looking towards truly dynamic healthcare system which is empowering for the  patient.

 

My areas of interest

We so often hear now, both in popular culture and from our health practitioners, that stress and disease are linked. And so focusing on dealing with our stress seems a good place to start. But stress is such a broad and subjective term; the way it manifests for you is completely different from the next person. Being told to ‘deal with our stress’ because it is at the ‘root of our illness’ leaves us with few clues of how exactly to achieve this daunting task.

In my botanical practice I put an emphasis on listening carefully to my patients’ experience of the world, what is hard and what makes them flourish. In the smallest of details, I try to gain perspective on what it feels like to be them in the world, rather than just using labels like ‘stress’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’, which I find to be of limited use. I aim to meet the patient where they are at, rather than imposing preconceived ideas of what it means to be healthy. Based on this, I use plants to offer medicines that affect mood, emotions and experience.

Because our emotional and physical well-being are so deeply intertwined, introducing the plants at this level enables the body to harness its natural healing process.  New research in the field of pyschoneuroimmunolgy shows that our immune system and nervous system are linked to our psychology, something that has long been known in traditional medicine.

This is not to say that all disease has an emotional root, and in all my sessions I ensure I am checking in on both the physical and emotional levels. However, harnessing mind-body medicine, in my experience, can be beneficial to almost every condition.

My work has several influences. I draw upon Rogerian psychotherapy practices (person centered counseling), as well as traditional herbalism, ayurvedic medicine and a range of meditation techniques. Most of my training has been under Sean Donahue, who has taught me the special relationship we humans can have with plants. I blend these influences with my biomedical knowledge and understanding of psychneuroimmunology to treat body and mind as a whole.

 

Services and Costs

Initial Intake (1.5 – 2 hours): Sliding Scale $70 – $100

Follow up (1 hour): Sliding Scale: $50-70

~ Accessible appointments are available (please contact for more details)

 

What to expect from a session

Initial sessions typically last 1.5 – 2 hours. During this time we will go into deep discussion about your health. My aim is always to find patterns and make connections to get a holistic picture of your well-being. In many cases this involves going way back to childhood, and exploring all contributing factors to your current presentation.

As well as taking a history, we may also touch in at the physical level – pulse, blood pressure, any necessary physical exams etc.

Your session will end with a customized treatment plan of herbs that can include teas, tinctures, capsules and salves.

More often than not, continuing treatments are the most beneficial. One session can be of immense help, but continuing sessions allow us to build a relationship and work at a much deeper level.

 

 

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